With great sadness we inform you that Michel Moreaux, professor of economics at the University of Toulouse and member of the SFPLab, passed away last week.
If you studied your PhD in Environmental Economics in France or Belgium, then the name Michel Moreaux would be well known to you. It was said that there exists barely no student who did a PhD in environmental economics in Toulouse and who did not have him as a supervisor.
Michel was a true Toulousain – he was an assistant in Toulouse from 1968 onwards, he did his PhD in Toulouse in 1972, became an associate professor in 1973, and, after a brief one year stay at the University of Brest, he became a professor of economics in Toulouse in 1983.
He shaped the research agenda in environmental economics in France like few others did. He started to publish in 1970, and from 1994 onwards has published articles in environmental economics. He published in top journals such as American Economics Review, Econometrica, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Economic Theory, and Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. While he officially had to retire in 2010, he continued to do research in environmental economics.
His research in environmental economics mainly focused on resource use and transition. One of his most influential papers in resource economics is “Ordering the extraction of pollution non-renewable resources, published in the American Economic Review in 2008. Together with his co-authors Ujjayant Chakravorty and Mabel Tidball he showed that the ordering of extraction need not be driven by whether a resource is clean or dirty. They noticed that a perverse policy implication is that regulating pollution may accelerate the use of the polluting resource.
In 2016 he received the Lifetime Achievements Award of EAERE 2016, which is the predecessor prize of the EAERE fellow. Lucas Bretschger remembers that “Michel was profoundly touched when receiving the prize, also because the EAERE colleagues gave him a long and standing ovation.”
His long-term co-author, Ujjayant Chakravorty, wanted us to remember the following about Michel: “I met Michel in 1999 and since then we have worked on many projects and published more than a dozen papers. I learnt a lot from him. He was not only a great mathematician and economist but read a lot, and on all kinds of topics. I remember conversations about the development of steam engines in England and various cars from Detroit in the 1950s and 60s. One time he sent our co-author Andrew Leach and me a 90 page handwritten mathematical exposition of our joint paper, by DHL! Most of the notes I have on our papers from him were handwritten, and very carefully crafted! He loved classical French cuisine. His favorite was Le Chevillard, a local brasserie across from TSE. When I was in Toulouse, I often saw him sitting there at lunch time at a table, by himself. He will be sorely missed.“
Rick van der Ploeg notes that „Michel was a formidable giant in the theory of natural resources. I remember him and his wife dearly. His generous nature and his wide intellectual interests well beyond economics were extraordinary, just like his passion for good food.” Also, Cees Withagen concludes that “I can confirm what Rick said, from my own experience. Eliane, his beloved wife who passed away earlier this year, and Michel were great hosts. It was always a pleasure to spend an evening with them drinking fine wines and eating exquisite food, together with conversations on all kinds of topics. Their knowledge of disciplines other than economics was remarkable.” We can only confirm this from our personal experience. Michel will stay in our hearts.